Alex Jones Must Pay $1.1B in Sandy Hook Damages, Despite Bankruptcy

Although some of the damages above that amount could ultimately be discharged
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
Alex Jones Can't Use Bankruptcy to Avoid Paying Sandy Hook Damages
FILE - Infowars founder Alex Jones appears in court to testify during the Sandy Hook defamation damages trial at Connecticut Superior Court in Waterbury, Conn., on Sept. 22, 2022.   (Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool, File)

Alex Jones may be filing for bankruptcy, but he'll still have to pay $1.1 billion in damages owed to families of nine Sandy Hook mass shooting victims who sued him for defamation. Reuters reports that a judge in Jones' personal bankruptcy case ruled Thursday that while bankruptcy can eliminate certain debts and legal judgments, that does not apply to judgments resulting from "willful or malicious injury." Lawyers for the Sandy Hook families had argued Jones' spreading of lies about the tragedy that killed 20 first graders and six educators, falsely claiming the shooting was a false flag operation with the goal of seeing Americans' guns confiscated, was indeed such a "willful and malicious" action that would be exempt from bankruptcy protection, the New York Times reports.

The judge did, however, exclude the $323 million in attorneys' fees and costs that were awarded above and beyond the $1.1 billion in damages, ruling that those punitive damages were not clearly established during the trial to have resulted from "willful and malicious" actions and could potentially be discharged as part of Jones' bankruptcy. In a separate lawsuit from the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, however, the judge ruled that $44 million in punitive damages—the bulk of the $49 million awarded to his parents by a jury—was not clearly related to "willful and malicious" intent rather than simply reckless behavior. The judge said a trial is necessary to determine which standard, "willful and malicious" or just "reckless," the award in that case meets. A third and final defamation damages trial with another set of parents is still pending. (More Alex Jones stories.)

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